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THE MARYLAND ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY 
2101 Bolton Street, Baltimore 17, Maryland 

State President: Orville W. Crowder, Chase, Maryland 
State Secretary: Miss T. M. Sandy, University Hosp. , Baltimore 1, Md. 
State Treasurer : Mrs. Myra C. Taylor, 75 Broadway, Frostburg, Md. 
Vice Presidents: Seth H. Low, Miss Nan Livingstone, Dr. R. S. Stauffer, 
Mrs. Wm. R. Slemmer, Gordon F. Vars, Col. F. H. Vinup, A. J. Fletcher. 
LOCAL UNITS: 

Baltimore Club of M. O. Frederick Branch, M. O. S. 

Allegany County Bird Club Harford County Bird Club 

Washington Co. Bird Club Anne Arundel Bird Club 

Caroline County Bird Club 

************ 4 :# 

CONTENTS 


A Nesting Study of Purple Grackles at Middle River, Maryland 3 

Edwin Willis 

Some Birds Use Poison Ivy Seeds without Spreading Them -7 

Hervey Brackbill 

Summary of Maryland Nest Records, 1950 8 

Helen L. Webster 

European Cormorant Observed at Ocean City, Maryland 17 

John H. Buckalew 

White-crowned Sparrows Wintering on the Eastern Shore of Maryland 17 
E. G. Davis, W. T. Davis, J. E. Willoughby 

THE SEASON - November and December, 1950 18 

Chandler S. Robbins 

Bird Banding in Maryland 21 

Seth H. Low 

FIELD TRIPS 23 

Oct. 15: Lake Roland - D. O. Stollenwerck 
Nov. 10- 1 1 : Ocean City & Blackwater Refuge - John Mohlhenrich 
Nov. 19: Corriganville - Adele E. Malcolm 

Escaped American Magpie at Frederick 24 

Mabel J. Hoyler 

COVER: Coots in Middle River, by Chas. J. Cignatta 
DEPARTMENT HEADINGS: Irving E. Hampe 


MARYLAND BIRDLIFE 

Published Bi-monthly except July-August by the Md. Ornithological 
Society, to Record and Encourage the Study of Birds in Maryland 

Editor: Chandler S. Robbins, Patuxent Refuge, Laurel, Md. 

Art Editor: Irving E. Hampe, 5559 Ashbourne Rd., Balto. 27, Md. 
Associate Editors: Adele Malcolm, Mrs. R. B. Green, Rodgers 

Tull Smith, Thomas M. Imhof, Mrs.'Wm. L. Henderson 



MARYLAND BIRDLIFE 

(Publisher) bi ■monthly except ^uly-Cfuyust by the 

^Maryland OrnitkoLoyicaL Society 

3iOi (Bolton Street, (Baltimore tj, ^Maryhud 





Volume 7 

January - February, 1951 

Number 1 


A NESTING STUDY OF PURPLE GRACKLES 
AT MIDDLE RIVER , MARYLAND 

Edwin Willis 

During the spring and summer of 1950 I passed quite frequently 
through a Purple Grackle ( Quiscalus quiscula) nesting colony at Middle 
River, Baltimore County, Maryland. My notes on their nesting extend 
from March 5 to early August, though I observed birdlife in the nesting 
area throughout the year. I made no attempt to make a careful study 
of Grackle nesting habits, mainly due to the' inaccessibility of their 
nests. However, in the course of my observations of the nesting birds 
of the vicinity I amassed considerable information on the nestihg of this 
species. Comparison of this study with a more intensive one of Bronzed 
Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula versicolor ) at Madison, Wisconsin, by 
Petersen and Young (!), shows much similarity between the two'species. 
The following study is divided into two parts: the study of their nesting, 
and a summary of the factors influencing nest location. 

A. NESTING 

About 25 pairs of Grackles nested at Middle River in 1950.. A few 
other pairs nested elsewhere.in the vicinity. Middle River between the 
Eastern Avenue, bridge and the Pennsylvania Railroad is a narrow tidal 
stream, mostly dry at low tide. Along its southwest side are a small 
marsh, a narrow weed-flat bordered by a line of trees and ending at a 
small stream, a small alder and elderberry bush-flat, and a softball lot. 
Behind this narrow edging are apartment houses, and across the rail- 
road are large numbers of cottages. Along the northeast side of the 
river is a fair-sized marsh, which becomes shrub and seepage swamps 
at its edge and then lowland woods, in which most of the Grackles nested. 
Behind these woods are more houses. 

The first migrant Grackles passed in late February, but I saw none 
at the nesting grounds until March 5. The breeding population h6re 
gradually built up to about fifty, even though Grackle migration contin- 
ued all through March and some retired to roosts elsewhere at night. 


4 


MARYLAND BIRDLIFE 


Vol. 7, No. 1 


During March they were busy with courtship. At first small groups 
sat up in the treetops, the males creaking and puffing out their feathers 
to impress the females in general. By mid-March courtship was down to 
a pair basis, and there was much chasing through the trees, sometimes 
in small groups but usually in pairs. Most were mated by early April. 
Nesting started about the same time as at Madison, Wisconsin (0, de- 
spite the fact that the males arrived here three weeks earlier, because 
the mating process took nearly three weeks here but only one week at 
Madison (Table 1). 

On April 8 I noticed several females carrying straws from the 
bush-flat into the woods, and found six nests nearly completed in the 
pines there. Several Grackles flew around nearby, creaking and'chack- 
ing; one, which was flushed off a nest, may have been incubating. Pet- 
ersen and Young (op.cit.) found that Bronzed Grackles took a week to 
eleven days to complete their nest; if this is true of Purple Grackles in 
Maryland, the nests must have been started the last week in March. On 
April 11, I found three more nests in a group of pines in the center of 
the woods. Probably, at the same time, building was proceeding rapid- 
ly throughout the woods, for on April 16 I found 21 nests in the half of the 
woods (near the railroad) which eventually contained 42 nests. Thus 
there must have been considerable building afterward, but I believe it 
was due to loss of eggs or death of young rather than to raising of sec- 
ond broods. Petersen and Young (op. cit. ) mentioned that’ each year a 
number of nests were deserted in early stages of construction; possibly 
some of the nests in the final total were in this category. 

On April 16 a few females were on the nests, and there were two 
eggs in each of the two nests I climbed to, which later contained three 
eggs. This is the lowest number reported by most observers the 

average set seems to be five eggs. Though Petersen and Young reported 
their earliest record of eggs at Madison on April 15, probably some sets 
were complete by April 16 here. During the rest of April the adults 
weremainly busy incubating. A few were still on the nests in mid-May, 
and probably as late as early June in some cases. 

The first sign that young had hatched was on May 1, when the fe- ‘ 
male of one nest (the other nest was destroyed) was on three tiny young. 
Using the incubation period of eleven to twelve days determined at Mad- 
ison l 1 ), the first of these probably hatched April 29. By May 9 these 
young filled the nest, and the parents were busy gathering food for their 
ypung everywhere - from the marsh-edge, the swamps, the leaves of 
the woods, and refuse behind apartment buildings - up to a mile away. 
By May 13 the young in this nest were gone, though I heard no young out 
of the nest. Since up to fourteen days had elapsed since they had hatched, 
and since Petersen and Young (op. cit.) reported that young stay in the 
nest an average of 12 days, these young could easily have left success- 
fully. Probably most young left the nests in late May, but a few . were 
still in nests during June. 

The first bob-tailed little one I saw was in a large cottonwood by 
the bridge, at least 100 feet from the nearest trees, on May 26. By that 


Jan. - Feb-, 1951 


. MARYLAND BIRD LIFE 


5 


TABLE 1. COMPARISON OF GRACKLE CHRONOLOGY, 
MIDDLE RIVER, MARYLAND and MADISON, WISCONSIN 


ACTIVITY 

MIDDLE RIVER 
1950 

MADISON 
1947 - 1949 

Arrival of Males 

1st week March 

3rd week March 

Arrival of Females 

' 

4th week March 

Pairing 

2nd-3rd week March 

4th week March 

First Nests Started 

4th week March 

1st week April 

First Nests Completed 

April 8 

— 

First Eggs Laid 

about April 8 

April 15, 1949 

Last Incubation 

--- 

June 1, 1947 

First Hatching 

about April 29 

— 

Earliest Fledging 

about May 10 

May 12, 1949 

Latest Fledging 

prob. early July 

June 12, 1947 

Last Feeding by Adults 

July 23 

--- 


time the “Cha cha” feeding or .“location” calls of the young were com- 
ing from everywhere in the trees around the river. Three well-flying 
young observed in the woods on May" 30 had been out of the nest at least 
a week. On May 311 caught a bob-tailed little fellow on the grass bank 
below the trees along the southwest side of the river, while a parent 
circled and chacked. Otherwise the parents hid their young well down 
in the dense bushes around the marshes or in the boggy thicket-depres- 
sions which cut the woods into five sections. 

By the middle of June many young were well grown, if not so large 
nor so long-tailed as the parents, and they began to disperse in family 
flocks of from three to six. The immatures frequently begged food with 
“Cha-a-ack, cha-a-ack” calls, but gleaned most of their own food once 
they left the nesting grounds. Half-grown young were still begging from 
parents as late as July 2, and the last time I saw one carry food to its 
young was on July 23. By early August their dispersal was general, and 
it was hard to tell young from old. Only enough birds for the available 
food supply (which too frequently includes eggs and young of other birds) 
were left in the nesting woods. 

One nest produced a partial albino, with white tail-feathers tipped 
with black. It was still small, though well-flying, and cared for by a 


MARYLAND BLRDLIFE 


Vol. 7, No. 1 


6 * 


parent on July 14. I caught it on July 17 when its feathers were wet from 
bathing. Probably it had been out of the nest only about two weeks, set- 
ting its hatching date about mid-June and its leaving date early July. 
However, its albinism may have been accompanied by slow growth, so 
it is somewhat uncertain whether it came from such a late nesting. 

B. NESTS AND THEIR LOCATION 

The Grackle nests were bulky and cup-shaped, of dried yellow 
grass stems bound together with an inner mud layer. Many of these 
nests were so well constructed that they endured until the next spring; 
it is possible that some of the fifty-four nests I found were nests from 
previous years. Four of these nests were on the southwest side of the 
river; the other fifty were in the woods. Forty-one nests were in scrub 
pines ( Pinus virginiana), four were in willow oaks (Quercus ’phellos), 
five in dense honeysuckles (Lonicera japonica) up sweetgum (Liquidam- 
bar styraciflua ) saplings, and four in honeysuckle up cottonwoods (Pop- 
ulus deltoides) . The Grackles at Madison 0) also nest in conifers (ar- 
bor vitae, Thuja occidentalis) and in honeysuckles .in preference ' to the 
trees which are not in leaf when they started nesting. One pine tree at 
Middle River had four nests, twelve others had two nests each, and 
twenty-six werein separate trees. 

Apparently safety, and consequently concealment from possible 
predators, was the main factor in placing the nest. In open places near 
houses they nest far up - to 50 feet - because the open growth there 
made a lower nest plainly visible to young boys, one of their chief ene- 
mies. Nests in the woods were only 15 to 30 feet up in pines, in order 
to be equally concealed by leaves from predators both above and below. 

It is interesting to note that no nests were in the lower third of the pine 
trees, 62|% of the nests were in the middle third (vertically), and 37^% 
were in the top third. Where the growth was dense enough nearer the 
ground, as in the honeysuckles here and at Madison, as well as in arbor 
vitae (1), the Grackles nested lower. My nests in honeysuckle-covered 
saplings ranged from 6 to 16 feet up, in contrast to 11 to 50 fget up 

TABLE 2. HEIGHT OF GRACKLE NESTS 

46 - 50 


— > 
0) 

41-45 

o 


Ui 

c 

36-40 


31-35 

V 

2 

26 - 30 

Wh 

o 

21 - 25 

X 

00 

16 - 20 

4> 

11-15 

X 

1 

6-10 

1 

1 - 5 


Number of Nests 



Jan. - Feb. ,1951 


MARYLAND BIRD LIFE 


7 


inpine trees. Comparative numbers of nests at different heights are illus- 
trated in Table 2. Nests in the 46 to 50-foot group are those near houses. 

When the nests were in large pines, they were from five to ten 
feet out, saddled on thin branches , twigs, and needles, but in small pines 
and other trees they were close to the trunk. This was evidently be- 
cause the larger pines had longer and stronger branches and thus could 
support the heavy nests farther from the trunk. Thin willow oak branches 
would not support nests very far from the trunk. Since in the round-con- 
ical pines the largest branches are a little below the vertical center, the 
nests tended to be farther out from the trunks when placed half-way up 
the trees than when near the top. Apparently the direction from the 
trunk had nothing to do with the distance of the nest from the trunk. 

The only thing noteworthy about the direction of these nests from 
the trunk was that comparatively few nests were placed on the north 
side of the trees. Perhaps they built the ir nests on the sunward sides 
of the trees to gain increased warmth, but it wouUseem that the leaves 
above would nullify any gain of this sort. Further study of their nesting 
habits will perhaps explain this and many other things' still unknown a- 
bout the Purple Grackle. 

LITERATURE CITED: 

1. Petersen, Arnold and Young, Howard. 1950. A Nesting Study of the 

Bronzed Grackle. Auk, 67 (4): 466-476. 

2. Pearson, T. Gilbert {Editor-in-Chief). 1936. Birds of America, 

II: 267. 


SOME BIRDS USE POISON IVY SEEDS WITHOUT SPREADING THEM 

In reckoning the economic value of birds, it has to be counted 
against some species that they spread undesirable plants - by eating the 
entire fruits or. seeds and later regurgitating, or voiding the indigestible 
pits, which duly sprout and take root wherever they fall. One of the 
plants thus spread is poison ivy, the seeds of which are coated with a 
crumbly substance that many birds seem to like. 

Ln Baltimore City and County I have at one time or another watched 
birds of eight species make use of this food. And it seems worth men- 
tioning that not all of them were spreading the seeds. All of the Slate- 
colored Juncos (4 birds) and Carolina Chickadees (2) merely picked or 
chewed away bits of the seeds’ coating, leaving the pits themselves on 
the vines. 

Five other species, however, the Downy Woodpecker (1 bird), Cat- 
bird (1), Myrtle Warbler (7), Tree Sparrow (1) and Song Sparrow (1), 
have all swallowed the seeds whole, and so undoubtedly did spread the 
plant. I have seen two White-throated Sparrows pick at the seeds, but 
without being able to discern whether they took all or just part. 

-- Hervey Brackbill. 


8 


MARYLAND BIRDLIFE 


Vol. 7, No. 1 


SUMMARY OF MARYLAND NEST RECORDS, 1950 
Helen L. Webster 


Did you observe any birds nesting during this past season? What 
kind? When was the observation made? Where was the nest? In what 
type of habitat was it located? How was it constructed? How many 
eggs were in the clutch? How long did they take to hatch? How long did 
the young remain in the nest? These and many other interesting ques- 
tions about the nesting habits of birds you can answer for yourself; and 
the compilation of your answers and the answers of fallow club mem- 
bers will not only be of interest to readers of Maryland Birdlife, but 
will provide scientific data valuable to others. The keen nature studeii 
loses much of the fascination associated with wildlife if he passes up 
the opportunity to peep into the family life of birds during the nesting 
season. Ask your friends to tell you of any nesting activities that they 
may see. Many will be glad to cooperate in this way and in time they 
themselves may succumb to the fascination of bird study. 

In making these observations one should bear in mind that in ap- 
proaching a nest he probably leaves a trail behind that may attract 
some predator to the nest. Nests on or near the ground are especially 
vulnerable to predation and your visits should be limited to the number 
necessary to obtain useful data. 

Make your reports as nearly complete as possible, but clear and 
concise. Information presented in this maimer has greater value and is 
more easily extracted. You may wish to consult the- nest record file in 
connection with some research project or article for Maryland Birdlife, 
and you will appreciate the availability of well-presented data. 

There is still much to be learned about the birds of Maryland, and 
through the combined efforts of observers all over the State we can 
compile valuable data on the distribution, ecology and nesting seasons 
of the various species. Those who have not read the summary of Mary- 
land nest records for 1949 by C. S. Robbins (Maryland Birdlife 5: 41-48) 
should not fail to do so. This article gives some idea of the many 
things yet to be learned about the birds nesting in Maryland. 

The summary of nest records reported by members of the Mary- 
land Ornithological Society is to be an annual affair, so be sure to re- 
quest nest record cards from local officers of the Society, and be ready 
to report any nests you may observe this spring and summer. 

Special acknowledgment is due Edwin Willis, who submitted de- 
tailed records on 369 nests and also prepared an excellent summary of 
his data. Other members who reported 20 or more nests were Miss 
A. A. Brandenburg, Robert Dickerman, Douglas Hackman, Robert T. 
Mitchell, Chandler S. Robbins, Rosemary B. Thomas and W. B. Tyrrell, 


Jan. - Feb., 1951 MARYLAND BIRDLIFE 9 



Black Duck nest, Elliott Is., May 15, 1949- Clark G. Webster 


The following summary contains selected notes on the 89 species 
reported in 1950. 

GREAT BLUE HERON - About 30 nests on Mar, 24, and young a- 
bout half grown on May 16 at Fairhaven, A. A. County (W. B. Tyrrell). 

LEAST BITTERN - Three nests recorded, with 3, 4, and 2 eggs, 
on June 11, 22, and 28 at Middle River, Baltimore Co. (Edwin Willis)- 

MALLARD - Nest with 9 eggs on May 13 at Strawberry Point 
in Baltimore Co. was empty on May 27 (Willis). 

BLACK DUCK - Late nest with 5 eggs on June 14 at Swan Point, 
Kent Co. (Judge 8r Mrs. W. L. Henderson). 

WOOD DUCK - Hen with 4 young on Apr. 28 at Marshall Diers- 
sen Refuge, Montgomery County. (Robert J. Beaton). Five nests at Pa- 
tuxent Refuge with 10, 10, 13,, 11 and 10 eggs, whcih hatched on June 2, 
12, 26, July 6 and July 25; the latter is a very late date. (Clark G. Web- 
ster). 

RED-SHOULDERED HAWK - Four downy young, 10 days old, in 
fork of sycamore tree near Halethorpe, May 7 (Ruth Lenderking). 

OSPREY - Building, Mar. 3, Caroline County (Roberta Fletcher). 
Nest with 3 eggs, Assateague Is., May 4 (j. H. Buckalew). Five nests 
containing 3 eggs, 3 young & 1 egg, 1 egg, 2 young, ad 3 young, June 6, 
Eastern Shore (W. Bryant Tyrrell). 

BALD EAGLE - Indications on April 27 tnat young had been re- 
moved from nest; locality withheld (Tyrrell). 

MARSH HAWK - One young and 3 eggs (2 pipped), June 23 at Bitt- 
inger, Garrett Co. (Tyrrell); second nest record for western Maryland. 


10 


MARYLAND BERDLLFE 


Vol. 7. No. 1 


SPARROW HAWK - One young in nest. May 26, Dundalk (Kolb). 

RUFFED GROUSE - Nest with 15 eggs. May 13, Catoctin Mt., 
Frederick Co. (Catoctin Conference, M. O. S.). 

BOB-WHITE - Eggs reported as early as June 25 and as late as 
Aug. 13, both in Harford Co. (Rosemary B. Thomas). , 

KING RAIL - Nest with 8 eggs, Caroline Co., June 23 (Roberta 
Fletcher). 

CLAPPER RAIL - May 20, nest with 11 eggs. West Ocean City 
(Low, Buckalew and many others, M.O.S. trip). 

VIRGINIA RAIL - June 3, 2 eggs in nest at Strawberry Point, 
Baltimore Co. (Willis). June 26, adult with downy young at Kent Nar- 
rows (R. Dickerman, R. Gibbs). July 8, adult with young, Unity, Mont- 
gomery Co. (Seth H. Low). 

KILLDEER - Twelve nests or broods recorded. Nest with 4 eggs 
as early as Mar. 25, and another with 4 eggs as late as June 1 1 at Mid- 
dle River (Willis). July 27, one extremely late downy young at Fort 
Meade, Anne Arundel Co. (Dickerman). 

SPOTTED SANDPIPER - Juvenile, July 2, Kent Is. (Dickerman). 

GULL-BILLED TERN - Twelve juveniles banded on island off 
South Point, Worcester Co., July 2 (Buckalew); increasing there. 

COMMON TERN - Poor season; 163 young banded, July 2, off 
South Point (Buckalew). On Aug. 5 at Ocean City, one very late nest 
with eggs, 18 downy young, and 18 feathered young not yet able to fly 
(Robert Dickerman, Robert Gibbs, Martha Trever). 

LEAST TERN - June 24, 32 young banded off South Point (Bucka- 
lew). June 17, 8 nests with 2 eggs each. Cove Pt., Calvert Co. (M.O.S. 
trip, reported by Pearl Heaps). July 9, 2 eggs in nest, also 4 juvenile, 
birds well-feathered on wings, back and breast. Cove Point (Dicker- 
man and Gibbs). July. 13, 12 or more young in colony at Oxford, Talbot 
Co. (Judge and Mrs. Henderson). 

BLACK SKIMMER - July 2, 92 young banded off South Point, Wor- 
cester Co. (Buckalew). Aug. 5, one late downy young, OceanCity (Dick- 
erman, Gibbs, Trever). 

MOURNING DOVE - Seven nests recorded. The earliest, con- 
tained 2 eggs on Apr. 15 in Frederick Co., and was successful (Rod- 
gers Smith and Mrs. M. J. Hoyler). The latest nest reported contained 
2 eggs which hatched on Aug. 3 but were destroyed on Aug. 4, Middle 
River (Willis). 

YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO - July 31, 3 eggs , unsuccessful; Aug. 
6, nest with 1 young and 1 egg; both at Middle River (Willis). 

BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO - Two eggs found on July 16 hatched 
about July 19, Middle River (Willis); very late record. 

BARN OWL - June 25, 1 young nearly grown and 2 addled eggs in 
observation tower, Blackwater Refuge (Kolb). June 18, young in nest in 
barn, Charles County (M.O.S. trip). 

SCREECH OWL - Three young left nest, June 20, Leakin Park, 
Baltimore City (T. C. Buck); late record. 

BARRED OWL - May 20, 1 egg. White Marsh, Baltimore Co. 

(Douglas Hackman). Apr. 7, a nest 25 ft. above ground, Forest Glen, 
Montgomery Co. (Frank C. Cross). 


Jan. - Feb., 1951 


MARYLAND BIRDLIFE 


11 


CHIMNEY SWIFT - Adults breaking twigs off trees at Middle Riv- 
er from May 27 to June 10 (Willis). 

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD - Aug. 17, adult feeding young 
on wire, Gibson Island (Hendersons). 

BELTED KINGFISHER - May 13, building in bank along river. 
Loch. Raven, Baltimore Co. (C. Haven Kolb, Jr.). 

FLICKER - Building as early as Apr. 7, Middle River (Willis). 
Seven eggs in nest box at Patuxent, June 4 (Mitchell). 

PILE ATE D WOODPECKER - Adult feeding 2 young, June 19 at 
Bittinger, Garrett Co. (Tyrrell 8t Allegany unit’s Junior Camp). 

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER - Young heard in nest, June 6, 
Chase; one caught and banded on June 20 (Orville W. Crowder and Wm. 

S. McHoul). 

RED-HEADED WOODPECKER - Nest in May, 60 ft. high in Balti- 
more City (Ruth Lenderking). 

HAIRY WOODPECKER - Noisy young heard in Towson nest, May 
30 to June 9 (Kolb). Young out of nest, July 2, Towson (Coles). 

DOWNY WOODPECKER - Young out of nest, June 22 at Towson 
(Mr. & Mrs. R. D. Cole). 

EASTERN KINGBIRD - Nine nests recorded. First eggs, June 16, 
White Marsh (Hackman). Last young in nest, July 28, at Patuxent Re- 
search Refuge, near Laurel (Robert Mitchell). 

CRESTED FLYCATCHER - Young out of nest, June 3, Forest Glen 
(Cross). Adult feeding nearly-grown young, Sept. 4, Gwynns Falls Park, 
Baltimore City (Miss A. A. Brandenburg). 



Ten newly -hatched Wood Ducks in abandoned Starling nest 
in Patuxent nest box, July 26, 1950. Clark G. Webster. 


12- 


MARYLAND BIRD LIFE 


Yol. 7, No. 1 


EASTERN PHOEBE - Nesting started late. No full clutch report- 
ed before May 6, when Kolb found 5 eggs at Loch Raven. 

ACADIAN FLYCATCHER - Two very late records. July 14, 3 
eggs, Whiteford, Harford Co. (Duncan McIntosh). Four young left nest 
in mid-August, Camp Roosevelt, Calvert Co. (Rod. Smith). 

EASTERN WOOD PEWEE - Three well-feathered young as early 
as June 13, Darlington, Harford Co. (Rosemary B. Thomas). Young in 
nest, July 22, Middle River (Willis)., 

HORNED LARK - Three eggs , McDonogh, Mar. 24 (Jack Weaver). 

BANK AND ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS - Young in nests (at 
least 300 nests), May 30, Ches. & Del. Canal (Miss Brandenburg). 

BARN SWALLOW - First eggs. May 20, Frederick Co. ( Rod. 
Smith). Latest hatching date, Aug. 4, Patuxent Refuge (Robbins). 

PURPLE MARTIN - Four eggs, June 14. Baltimore Co. (Duvall 
Jones). Last young still in nest, Aug. 7, Laurel (Thomas B. Israel). 
Colony of 166 pairs in 5 boxes at Federalsburg, Caroline Co. (Virgil B. 
Turner). The largest box, with 96 rooms, is believed to be the largest 
Martin house in the State. Approximately 637. young left the houses suc- 
cessfully. The mortality rate because of heat was extremely low this 
year due to aluminum paint over the dark green roofs; in 1949, before 
the aluminum paint was applied, almost all birds near the 8th floor 
smothered, even though the house was well ventilated. 

BLUE JAY - Building, Apr. 13, Middle River (Willis). Four young 
flew from nest at White Marsh, June 28 (Hackman); and 2 left nest at 
Middle River on July 2 8 (Willis). 

CAROLINA CHICKADEE - Building at TakomaPark, Mar. 18 (Tyr- 
rell). Six young hatched successfully, parents and young eating suet at 
Federalsburg, June 11 (Virgil Turner). Young out of nest at Towson, 
June 18 (Coles). 

TUFTED TITMOUSE - Building, May 6; 2 or 3 eggs, May 17, and 
nearly-feathered young, June 3 at Rosedale , Baltimore Co. (Duvall 
Jones). Five eggs. May 19; 6 young hatched, June 2; left nest, June 20, 
Darlington, Harford Co. (Rosemary B. Thomas). 

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH - Three young out of nest being 
fed by parent as late as July 15, Baltimore Co. (Miss Brandenburg). 

HOUSE WREN - Nest with 7 eggs at Patuxent Refuge on May 24 
(Mitchell and Robey). Five young in nest as early as May 25 at Fallston, 
Harford Co. (Betty Scarff). Last young left Middle River nest, Aug. 13 
or 14 (Willis). Mean clutch size, 6.2 for 19 first-brood nests; 5.5 for 
17 second-brood nests. One nest at Patuxent Research Refuge con- 
tained 8 young on June 7 (Harry Blagbrough). 

CAROLINA WREN - Building, Apr. 6, Middle River (Willis). First 
young in nest, May 23, Towson (Kolb). ' Five young still in nest at Mid- 
dle River, Aug. 20 (Willis). 

LONG-BILLED MARSH WREN - Forty-two nests of 23 pairs stud- 
ied in Middle River area by Willis. First set complete. May 27; last 
completed, July 29- First young hatched on June 9, and last on Aug. 11. 
First young out on June 22, last still in nest on Aug. 19. Nesting suc- 
cess, 31%. Three nests contained 3 eggs, twenty contained 4 eggs, and 


Jan. - Feb., 1951 


MARYLAND BIRDLIFE 


13 



Kildeer nest, Ocean City, May 21, 1949- Clark G. Webster. 


nine contained 5 eggs. The lowest nest was 1 ft. 8 in.; the highest, 3ft. 
10 in.; the median, 2 ft. 7 in. 

MOCKINGBIRD - Building, Apr. 23, Middle River (Willis). Three 
eggs, May 5, Frederick Co. (Rod. Smith and Mrs. M. J. Hoyler). Young 
left nest. May 17, Havre de Grace (Rosamond Beech). Building, May 16; 
3 eggs in nest. May 28; 3 young several days old, June 12; 3 young left 
nest, June 2 3; adult building new nest, June 25, Darlington, Harford Co. 
(Rosemary B. Thomas). 

CATBIRD - First full sets. May 14 at Berwyn (C.S. and E. C. 
Robbins) and Middle River (Willis). Last eggs hatched, Aug. 17 (very 
late), and young left, Aug. 27, Middle River (Willis). Success of 31 
nests, 60% (Willis). The lowest nest was 2 ft. 8 in., the highest was 20 
ft., and the median was 6 ft. Seventeen first-brood clutches were dis- 
tributed as follows: one set of 5 eggs, eleven sets of 4, three sets of 3, 
and two sets of 2 (mean, 3.6); in the second brood there were three sets 
of 4, fourteen of 3, and three of 2 (mean, 3.0). 

BROWN THRASHER - Building, Apr. 26; 2 eggs, May 13; eggs 
gone. May 14, Harford Co. (Rosemary B. Thomas). Aug. 26, adult feed- 
ing young out of nest, Caroline Co. (Mrs. Roberta Fletcher). Fourteen 
Middle River nests were 35% successful (Willis). The lowest nest was 
8 in. off the ground, the highest was 10 ft., and the median was 5 ft. 
Five clutches of 4 eggs and five of 3 were recorded in the first brood, 
and one of 4, six of 3, and one of 2 in the second brood. 

ROBIN - ' Fir st building, Apr. 12, and last, July 12. Four eggs, 
Apr. 30, Rosedale (Duvall Jones). Four eggs, May 22; 3 hatched; one 


14 


MARYLAND BIRD LIFE 


Vol. 7, No. 1 


of second brood seen out of nest on June 25 at Middle River; last brood 
left nest on Aug. 10 (Willis). Forty-nine nests studied by Willis were 
between 50% and 60% successful. The lowest nest was 2 8 in. off the 
ground, the highest was 47 ft., and the median was 22 ft. Sets laid up to 
May 15 had the following clutch sizes; seven records of 4 eggs, three of 
3, and one of 2; after May 15, four records of 3. 

WOOD THRUSH - Building, May 13; one egg. May 17; nest de- 
stroyed by thunder storm, White Marsh, Baltimore Co. (Hackman). 
June 3, 4 eggs plus one Cowbird egg (removed); June 14, young left nest, 
Frederick County (Martha Kemp Slemmer). June 23, young ready to 
leave nest, Towson (Coles). Thirty-two nests ranged from 3 ft. to 42 ft. 
above the ground, with a median of 9 ft. 3 in. The incubation period was 
apparently 12 days, and young remained in the nest about 13 days after 
hatching. The latest egg date was July 20, Middle River (Willis). In 
first-brood nests there were three sets of 4 eggs and four sets of 3; in 
second brood, five sets of 3, and five sets of 2. Eighty-two percent of 
the young left 22 nests studied by Willis. 

EASTERN BLUEBIRD - First completed nest, Apr. 27; 4 young in 
nest. May 24; Patuxent Refuge (Mitchell Sc Robey). Adults feeding noisy 
young, May 21, Clear Spring (Robbins St Duvall). 

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER - Building 8 ft. over water, Apr. 22, 
Seneca (Tyrrell). Adults feeding young in nest. May 6, Charles Co. (M. 
C. Crone, M.W, Goldman, A.R.Stickley). First breeding records for cen- 
tral Maryland were obtained by the Frederick Branch, who found a pair 
building on May 6 in Frederick Co., and by Robbins and Duvall, who 
watched a pair building. in an apple orchard near Spickler, northeast of 
Clear Spring, Washington Co., on May 21. 

CEDAR WAXWING - Building 30 ft. up in scrub pine, June 14, 
Middle River (Willis). Young in nest in beech tree, 20 ft. above ground, ‘ 
June 18, Chase (Hackman). Female on nest, June 17, Charlotte Hall, St. 
Marys Co. (Miss Brandenburg and M.O.S. trip). 

STARLING - Five young about 4 days old, Patuxent Refuge, Apr. 
27 (Mitchell & Robey). Latest young, June 30, 8 ft. up in apple tree near 
Clear Spring, Washington Co. (Robbins). 

WHITE-EYED VIREO - Building, May 6, Caroline Co. (Marvin 
Hewitt). Young out, June 17, Middle River (Willis). 

RED-EYED VIREO - Nest nearly completed, June 6; 1 egg, June 
15; and full clutch of 4 on June 18; incubation was 13 days and the young 
remained in the nest 10 to 11 days. Middle River (Willis). Three eggs, 
June 20, Bittinger, Garrett Co. (Tyrrell). Two young just out of the 
nest were caught on Aug. -20 by Willis, who saw full-grown young being 
fed as late as Sept. 27 at Middle River. Nineteen nests ranged from 3 
to 48 ft. in height, with a median of 9 ft. 8 in. 

WORM-EATING WARBLER - Adult feeding young out of nest, July 
23, Worthington 'Valley , Baltimore Co., (Coles). 

YELLOW WARBLER - Nest found on June 24 in a sea-myrtle at 
Strawberry Point, Baltimore Co., was already empty (Willis). 

CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER - Young out of nest; July 23, Worth- 
ington Valley, Baltimore Co, (Coles). 


Jan. - Feb., 1951 


MARYLAND BIRDLIFE 


15 


PRAIRIE WARBLER - Three eggs, June 8, Patuxent Refuge (Rob- 
ert T. Mitchell). 

KENTUCKY WARBLER - Young, recently out of nest, June 21 at 
Patuxent Refuge (Mitchell & Blagbrough). Young out of nest, June 25, 
Harford County (Rosemary B. Thomas). 

YELLOW-THROAT - Building, May 24, Patuxent (Blagbrough). 
Building, June 10; 4 eggs, June 17, Loch Raven (Haven Kolb). 

» HOODED WARBLER - Four young left nest in Leakin Park, Bal- 
timore City, on June 22 (T. C. Buck). 

AMERICAN REDSTART - June 25, young in nest 40 ft. up in white 
oak tree at Middle River (Willis). 

ENGLISH SPARROW - In Frederick Co., Rod Smith found a tall 
pine with about 15 nests in it on May 30; the nests contained eggs and 
young in all stages of development. Young left nest under eaves of 
small shed at Middle River on Aug. 4 (Willis). 

RED-WING - Building, May 6, at Middle River. An early clutch 
of 4 eggs at Strawberry Point on May 14, hatched on May 29. A very 
late nest with young, Aug. 4, Strawberry Point. Mean clutch of 41 nests 
was 3.25, and 57% of young left successfully (Willis). 

ORCHARD ORIOLE - Five eggs on June 2, 4 young on June 5, Pa- 
tuxent (Mitchell). Female on nest, June 17, Calvert Co. (Brandenburg). 

BALTIMORE ORIOLE - Three young out of nest at Lutherville, 
Baltimore Co., June 21 (Brandenburg). Apparently only one of a brood 
of 4 that hatched about June 9 at Middle River survived (Willis). 

PURPLE GRACKLE - See article by Willis in this issue. 

COWBIRD - Willis reported eleven cases of parasitism in Red- 
eyed Vireo nests, ten cases in Song Sparrow nests, two in Carolina 
Wrens, and one each in nests of the following species: Yellow-throat, 
Redstart, Red-wing, Orchard Oriole, and Towhee; the earliest egg date 
was between Apr. 24 and 26 (Carolina Wren nest), and the last young 
begged from a Towhee on Aug. 28. Mr. and Mrs. R. D. Cole reported 
young being fed on July 1 by a Red-eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, Red- 
eyed Towhee, and Song Sparrow. One young was fed by a Yellow- 
breasted Chat, July 18, Patuxent (Mitchell). Young were fed by a Red- 
eyed Vireo as late as Aug. 20 at Riverdale (James B. Cope). Other 
hosts reported this year were Wood Thrush (2 records), Oven-bird, 
Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow. 

SCARLET TANAGER - Adults were seen feeding 3 young at Mag- 
othy River Park, Anne Arundel Co., June 23 (Brandenburg). Four 
young in nest, June 24, White Marsh, Baltimore Co. (Hackman). Three 
eggs hatched on June 16, Middle River (Willis). 

CARDINAL - Female on 4 eggs, May 12, Patuxent (Robbins). Ad- 
ult feeding very late young out of nest at Loch Raven, Sept. 16 (Kolb). 

INDIGO BUNTING - First full clutch, 3 eggs, Patuxent, June 1 
(Mitchell). July 23, 2 young and 2 eggs in blackberry bush at Darling- 
ton; 4 young on July 26 (Rosemary Thomas). Latest nesting reported 
was 3 young out of nest, Sept. 10, Baltimore Co. (Brandenburg). 


16 


MARYLAND BIRDLIFE 


Yol. 7, No. 1 


EASTERN GOLDFINCH - Nest half completed, July 20; bird on 
nest, July 30 and Aug. 13, Darlington (Rosemary Thomas). Aug. 9, 
building; Sept. 4, all 4 eggs hatched; incubation period IZj to 15 days; 
young remained in nest 13 to 15| days, Strawberry Point (Willis). First 
young left nest, Aug. 29, and last young died in nest after Sept. 24, Mid- 
dle River area (Willis), 

RED-EYED TOWHEE - Four eggs, May 25, White Marsh (Hack- 
man). Four eggs. May 31, Patuxent (Oscar Warbach) Nests with 4 
e gg s J 3 young & 1 egg, and 2 eggs were found on June 2, June 3, and 
July 27 at Middle River (Willis). Extreme dates of leaving Middle River 
nests were June 4 and Aug. 12 (Willis). 

GRASSHOPPER SPARROW - Nest with 4 young, Strawberry Point, 
Baltimore Co. (Willis). 

CHIPPING SPARROW - Two eggs plus one Gowbird egg in nest in 
rose bush. May 21. Building, May 30; 2 young hatched, June 15; left 
nest, June 23; both at Darlington (Rosemary Thomas). Three eggs at 
Middle River, July 12 (Willis). Full-grown young still begging for food. 
Sept. 2 at Middle River (Willis). 

FIELD SPARROW - Four eggs, May 20, White Marsh; 3 hatched, 
May 24 (Hackman). Nest under construction at Loch Raven, June 10; 3 
eggs, June 17 (Kolb). Extreme dates for leaving Middle River nests, 
June 18 and Aug. 23 (Willis). Eight May nests ranged from 0 to 8} in. 
off the ground (median, in.); nine later nests ranged from 0 to 2 ft. 
(median, 1 ft. 1 in.) 

SONG SPARROW - Four eggs. May 14; 2 hatched on May 24, other 
2 infertile, Baltimore City (G.M. Ortiz). Late young left a Middle River 
nest on Sept. 3 (Willis). Seven sets laid in May averaged 4.6 eggs, five 
sets laid in June averaged 3.8, and ten laid in July and August averaged 
3.1, Median nest heights for these same three periods were 2 3/4 in. ; 

1 ft. 3 in.; and 2 ft. 10 in. 



House Wren, Arbutus, 
June 18, 1950. I, E. Hampe 


Young Barred Owl, Relay, 
May 8, 1947. I, E. Hampe 


Jan. - Feb., 1951 


MARYLAND BIRDL1FE 


17 


EUROPEAN CORMORANT OBSERVED AT OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND 

On December 13, 1950, while on patrol in the vicinity of Ocean Ci- 
ty Inlet, I saw a large, dark bird at the mouth of the inlet. Binoculars 
revealed that it was a cormorant; however, it appeared larger than the 
double -crested species common in this area. After a short time the 
cormorant rose from the water and perched on a channel marker just 
across the inlet from where 1 was .standing. As the bird preened, I 
could see that the entire belly area was white. On the basis of size, 
and the location and extent of the white underparts, it was identified as 
the European Cormorant ( Phalac rocorax carbo). A bird of this species, 
apparently the same individual, was subsequently seen in this inlet on 
December 27, 1950, by Ernest G. Baldwin, Fred M. Packard, and John 
W. Taylor, Jr. The European Cormorant was given a place on the Mary- 
land list by Kirkwood (Trans. Md. Acad. Sci., 2: 258, 1895) on the basis 
of Audubon's statement that this species “is rarely seen further south 
than the extreme limits of Maryland, but from Chesapeake Bayeastward 
it becomes more plentiful.” No further data being available, this species 
has not been accepted as a Maryland bird by subsequent authors, and 
the present observations are the first for which definite localities and 
dates are available. The European Cormorant winters regularly as faj- 
south as Long Island, and has been recorded casually to South Carolina 
and Georgia. 

John H. Buckalew 

WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS WINTERING ON THE 
EASTERN SHORE OF MARYLAND 

On January 1, 1951, while participating in the Susquehanna-Sassa- 
fras Christmas Count, we stopped approximately l| miles west of Ce- 
cilton, Cecil County, to observe a number of Field Sparrows and .White- 
throated Sparrows in a hedgerow bordering a plowed field along Route 283- 

We soon became aware of a White-crowned Sparrow on a fence 
post on the other (south) side of the road. This bird flew across to the 
afore -mentioned hedgerow and soon flew down into the field, where it 
was joined by six others of the same species. The seven White-crowns, 
five adults and two immatures, were observed for over ten minutes, in 
the course of which time one adult was actually captured after it had a- 
lighted exhausted on the highway. After a fewminutes in the hand it had 
apparently fully recovered and was released. 

Approximately one-half mile further west along the highway anoth- 
er party of four White-crowns, two adults and two immatures, was en- 
countered in a similar habitat. Another adult at the English Farm 
rounded out an even dozen White-crowned Sparrows , for what is believed 
to be the second winter record on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. One 
adult female was collected by Wetmore seven miles south of Ocean City' 
on November 9, 1929. 


E. G. Davis, W. T. Davis, J. E. Willoughby 


18 


MARYLAND BIRDLIFE 


Vol. 7, No. 1 



THE SEASON - November and Decemoer 1950 
Chandler S. Robbins 

This period was ushered in by a record-breaking heat wave, and 
although a gradual lowering of temperatures continued for the rest of 
November, it was not until the 26th that hard freezing weather occurred 
in the eastern part of the State. The month ended with an average daily 
excess of 2 to 3 degrees. The warmth continued through the first ten 
days of December, but the remainder of that month was slightly colder 
than normal, and by the end of the period the State was enveloped in a 
severe freeze that sent a large proportion of our wintering waterfowl 
southward. The wide-spread wintering of the Phoebe, and records of 
such insect-eaters as the Gnatcatcher in November and the Redstart in 
December attest to the general mildness of the period. 

Gannet , Herons . Two Gannets seen from the Matapeake ferry on 
Nov. 11 by John Aldrich, Thomas Burleigh, and Allen Duvall represent 
one of the northernmost records of this species in Chesapeake Bay. An 
AmericanEgret seen at Patuxent Refuge on Dec. 15-16 by Francis Uhler 
and Robert Stewart is the latest ever recorded west of the Bay. Another 
late straggler was a Snowy Egret which remained at Blackwater Refuge 
through Nov. 3 (Robbins fa Kraeski). 

Swans and Geese . Swans were late in arriving, but the observa- 
tions at hand indicate an apparent increase. The first flock passed over 
Seth Low’s farm at Unity on Nov. 11, and on the same day astray imma- 
ture bird was seen at Ocean City (where rare) on the M.O.S. trip. In 
the next two days they were recorded at Savannah Lake, Choptank River 
bridge, Kent Narrows and Gibson Island. The peak was reached on the 
18th, when 3,000 were seen by the Hendersons at the Romancoke ferry 
landing. The highest counts reported from the head of the Bay were 
600 at Carroll Is. on Nov. 19 (M.O.S. trip) and 800 on the Gunpowder, 
Dec. 10 (Thomas Imhof). Impressive numbers of Canada Geese arrived 
on the Upper Eastern Shore and in the Choptank River area. Counts of 
1,450 at Blackwater Refuge on Nov. 3 (Robbins) and 2,000 in the Elliott 
Island -marshes on the 19th (Stewart) represent only a fraction of the 
total number using these areas. A rare sight at Blackwater Refuge was 
a group of 15 Brant flying overhead with a flock of Mallards on Nov. 12 
(M.O.S.). One Snow Goose was seen at Miller's Island, Baltimore Co., 
and up to 7 at Blackwater Refuge. A flight of 700 to 800 passed south 
over Ocean City on Nov. 2 8 ( J.H. Buckalew), and on the unprecedented 


Jan. - Feb., 1951 


MARYLAND BERDLIFE 


19 


date of Dec. 27, some 1,986 individuals flew south over the same area 
(Christmas Count). From 1 to 5 Blue Geese were present at Blackwa- 
ter Refuge throughout the period, and a high count of 10 was obtained at 
Chestertown, Nov. 24 (Buckalew). 

Ducks. Black Ducks were less numerous than usual. Mallards, on 
the other hand, made a better showing with 250 at Blackwater on Nov. 
19 (Stewart) and 203 in Eastern Bay on Dec. 23 (Hendersons). Gadwall 
on Savannah Lake increased from 40 on Nov. 3 and 200 on the 12th to 
400 on the 19th (Robbins & Stewart); the favorite feeding ground of these 
birds is in the cove bordering the Elliott Island road, making this the 
best place in Maryland to observe Gadwall in large numbers. The second 
Anne Arundel County record of the European Widgeon was established 
on Nov. 30 when I. C. and C. Hoover identified one bird at Sandy Point. 
HighBaldpate counts were obtained on some of its favorite feeding 
grounds as follows: 1,400, Elliott Island marshes, Nov. 3 (Robbins & 
Kraeski); 1,000, Nov. 11, Berlin (M.O.S. trip); 14,000, Nov. 19, Carroll 
Is. (M.O.S. trip); and 3,000, Dec. 10, Gunpowder River (Imhof). The 
combined effects of late arrivals and early freezing account in part for 
the lownumbers of diving ducks reported. Except for the Greater Scaup 
and Old-squaw, which were especially common in parts of Chesapeake 
Bay, no comment on increases was received. The highest counts of 
diving ducks reported by single parties were as follows: Redhead, 1,500 
on Dec. 10 at Gunpowder River (Imhof); Canvas-back, 2,000, same date 
and place; Buffle-head, 200 on Dec. 27 in Sinepuxent Bay; Old-squaw, 
100 on Dec. 22 in Eastern Bay (Hendersons) and 200 on Nov. 1 1 at South 
Point (M.O.S. trip): Ruddy Duck, 1,500 onNov. 19at Carroll Is. (M.O.S.), 
and 2,000 at Gibson Island throughout the period (Hendersons & others). 

Vultures and Hawks . The most comprehensive report on these 
species was furnished by Douglas Hackman, who observed frequent 
flights over his home in White Marsh through Dec. 9 (details to be in- 
corporated into forthcoming hawk migration summary). His count of 11 
Black Vultures on Nov. 1 1 is a high one for that area. Edwin Willis 
identified a late Osprey at Strawberry Point on Nov. 8, and two birds of 
this species were observed by Andrew Simon, Richard Simon and Wil- 
liam McHoul on the Chase Christmas Count, Dec. 31. 

Coot , Shorebirds. Only 3 localities reported 1,000 or more Coot, 
the highest estimate being 4,000 at Carroll Is., Nov. 19 (M.O.S.). A Pip- 
ing Plover which was watched at leisure from the Ocean City bridge on 
Nov. 12 by the M.O.S. trip (Robbins, Miss Brandenburg and others) is 
by far the latest on record for Maryland. Three Ruddy Turnstones,, 
seen at the same time, are also the latest except for one stray bird on 
Dec. 27, 1948. A count of 25 Wilson’s Snipe on Dec. 23 at Frederick is 
unusual (Rod. Smith). 

Gulls and Terns . The Black-backed Gull was reported from as 
far up the Bay as Gibson Is., where one was present from Nov. 16 to 
the opening of the shooting season (Hendersons and others). The high- 
est count was 18 at Ocean City on Nov. 11 (M.O.S. trip). The Laughing 


20 


MARYLAND BIRD LIFE 


Vol. 7. No. 1 


Gull remained a week or two later than usual, but then disappeared en- 
tirely, and no December strays were reported; departure dates were 
Nov. 2 at Middle River (Willis), Nov. 18 at Gibson Is. (Vera Henderson), 
and Nov. 19 at Sandy Pt. (Stewart) and Port Tobacco (Catherine Crone, 
Robert Farr, C. A. McLean). The late species of terns were last seen 
as follows: Forster’s and Common (1 each) at Port Tobacco on Nov. 
19 (Crone and others); Royal (10) at Ocean City on Nov. 12 (M.O.S.); 
and Caspian (2) at Blackwater Refuge on Nov. 3 (C.S. Robbins & Arthur 
Kraeski). 

Woodpeckers, Phoebe. The following records are unusual for 
their respective localities: a Flicker at Dickeyville in northwest Bal- 
timore City on Dec. 17 (Hervey Brackbill); fresh Pileated Woodpecker 
drillings in the Catoctin Mountains 4 miles southwest of Thurmont, 
Nov. 22 (Stewart); a Red-headed Woodpecker at Gibson Is., Nov. 26 and 
Dec. 4 (Vera Henderson); and a male Sapsucker in the Forest Park sec- 
tion of northwest Baltimore, Dec. 17 and Jan. 1 (Brackbill). Never be- 
fore have so many Phoebes been recorded in Maryland in December . 
Frank Cross heard one singing at Forest Glen, Montgomery Co., on 
Dec. 3; John Fales recorded single birds at Cabin John on Dec. 10 and 
at Beltsville on the 11th; Robert Stewart saw one at Patuxent Refuge on 
Dec. 24; and 32 others were identified on Maryland Christmas Counts. 

Mockers, Gnatcatcher s , -Pipit, Shrike. Two Catbirds lingeredat 
Gibson Is. until Nov. 28 : (Mr. & Mrs. George Englar), and 2 Brown 
Thrashers frequented Mrs. Galloway’s feeding station at Plain Dealing 
Creek, Talbot Co., throughout the period. A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 
seen by Willis at Middle River on Nov. 7 and 1 1 is the latest on record 
for the State. - A flock of Pipits at Corriganville in Allegany Co. on 
Nov. 18 is an interesting, record for that locality (N. H. Miller). The 
Northern Shrike, which is rarely identified in Maryland even during 
“flight years”, was seen at 2 localities on Dec. 23; one at Redland, 
Montgomery Co. (John H. Fales and John Thomen); the other at Sandy 
Point (Hendersons). * 

Warblers, Finches and Sparrows . The rare Orange-crowned War- 
bler was identified at Middle River on Nov. 12 by Willis. Thanks to a 
bumper crop of poison ivy berries, Myrtle Warblers were more com- 
mon and widespread at the end of the period than for many years; sev- 
eral were observed in Baltimore City, and they were found west to the 
base of the Allegheny Plateau. A late Palm Warbler was seen at Mid- 
dle River on Dec. 2-3 (Willis); and a female Redstart at White Marsh 
on Dec. 6 is the latest fall record for Maryland (Hackman). All the 
northern finches were scarce. The only Evening Grosbeaks were those 
seen on 3 Christmas Counts. Although Pine Siskins were reported from 
4 counties, the combined total was only 5 birds. Mr. Cole and others 
found a late Chipping Sparrow at Gibson Is., Dec. 3. White-crowned 
Sparrows did not arrive at the Llewellyns’ feeding station at McCool 
until Nov. 26, and only 11 birds entered his banding traps during the 
period. 


Jan. - Feb., 1951 


MARYLAND BIRD LIFE 


21 



BIRD- BANDING IN MARYLAND 


Seth H. Low 

The central office and files of the North American bird-banding 
program were located in Washington, D.C., from 1920 to 1942 and then 
moved to the present location at the Patuxent Research Refuge near 
Laurel, Maryland. Considering this proximity of the banding office, one 
might assume that there had. been and would still be a concentration of 
banding cooperators in the Washington-Baltimore area comparable with 
those of the Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and 
San Francisco regions. Such has never been the case and only recently 
has there been any increase in the number of banders in Maryland. 

Space does not permit at the present time a comprehensive review 
of the work of the twenty-five to thirty cooperators who have banded in 
Maryland in the past and who are no longer active in the State. Of these 
only four banded over 500 birds as follows: 

Wm. M. Davidson, the dean of Maryland banders, while residing 
in Laurel from 1929 to 1949, banded 8,974 birds. In 1949, Mr. Davidson 
moved to Florida, where he is now one of the most active cooperators. 

Edward McColgan banded 1,920 birds at Catonsville from 1933 
to 1941 during his few years of retirement prior to his death. 

Mr. 8t Mrs. Frederick C. Lincoln banded 842 birds at Takoma 
Park from 192 8 to 193 1" 

Chas. E. Abromavich, Jr. banded from 1928 to 1931 while a student 
at The Johns Hopkins University, taking over the station of Percy L. 
Johnson and E. C. Meyers. He reported 635 bandings. 

Banding in Maryland has been insufficient in the past and still is 
far from adequate. More cooperators are needed to avail themselves of 
the many fine opportunities throughout the State. A better coverage of 
upland stations is needed. The possibilities of banding studies of Bald 
Eagles, Ospreys, and Duck Hawks are good but neglected. Nesting colo- 
nies of gulls, terns, and skimmers are few and small and are now being 
fairly well covered. The heron and egret colonies are inaccessible and 
present many difficulties. Although Maryland contains one of the larg- 
est and most important wintering grounds of a multitude of species of 
waterfowl, virtually no banding of these important species has been done 
here. The several reservoirs such as Triadelphia, Pretty Boy, Loch 
Raven, and Deep Creek; the federal wildlife refuges, Blackwater, Pa- 
tuxent, and Susquehanna Flats;' and state refuges such as Marshall 


22 


MARYLAND BIRDLLFE 


. Vol. 7, No. 1 


Dierssen, and Grisfield as well as innumerable other locations offer 
fine sites for the establishment of waterfowl banding stations. 

The following table lists the number of birds which have been 
banded in Maryland by cooperators who are still active and who are 
residing in this State at the present time. 


Present Active Cooperators in Maryland 


Name 

, , , Permit 

Present Address issued 

Birds 

Banded 

Berry, Comdr. Wm. H. 

U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis 

1948 

252 

Brackbill, Hervey 

4608 Springdale Ave. .Baltimore 

1941 

1,454 

Buckalew, John H. 

110 Clay St., Salisbury 

1929 

1,746 

Crook, Compton 

State Teachers College, Towson 

1940 

1,894 

Crowder, Orville W. 

Chase 

1949 

170 

Cunningham, T. H. 

6505 Maple Ave . , Che vy Chase 

1940 

99 

Dobbin, Miss Anne B. 

Elkridge 

1938 

480 

Grisez, Ted J. 

N.E.ForestExp. Sta. , Laurel 

1949 

144 

Hampe, Irving E. 

5559 Ashbourne Rd. .Halethorpe 

1947 

649 

Henderson, Judge Wm.L. 

Gibson Island 

1940 

181 

Hodgdon, Kendrick Y. 

16 Welsh St., Frostburg 

1949 

38 

Jackson, William B. 

615 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore 

1949 

2 

Llewellyn, Leonard M. 

Patuxent Refuge, Laurel 

1937 

399 

Low, Seth H. 

Route #2, Gaithersburg 

1948 

1,095 

Merkel, 'E. A. 

Queens Chapel Rd. , Hyattsville 

1949 

58 

Robbins, Chandler S- 

407| Gorman Ave., Laurel 

1949 

736 

Sigwald, Sidney F. 

55 14 Morland Lane , Bethesda 

1949 

10 

Smith, Frank R. 

R.D. 2, Box 100, Laurel 

1929 

1,186 

Sommer, Frank H., Jr. 

Mountain Road, Joppa 

1949 

40 

Tyrrell, W. Bryant 

246 Park Ave., Takoma Park 12 

1934 

351 

Wood, Capt. J. E. M. 

Old Crossing Lane, W. Annapolis 

1949 

317 

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Cambridge 

1942 

1,962 

Patuxent Research Refuge 

, Laurel 

1942 

18,050 


The banding at the Patuxent Research Refuge has been and still is 
the result of the combined effort of many of the staff. The major con- 
tributors (1,000 or more birds) have been John W. Brainerd, James B. 
Cope, Miss Brina Kessel, Leonard Llewellyn, Robert T. Mitchell, 
Chandler S. Robbins, and Robert E. Stewart. 


During the current year several new cooperators have joined the 
program in Maryland and as yet have not had an opportunity to report 
on their banding. These new banders are: 


Buck, Theodore C., Jr. 
Derby, James V. Jr. 
Mitchell, Robert T. 
Orem, Reginald C., Jr. 
Webster, Clark G. 
West, Norman E., Jr. 
Willoughby, John E. 


3514 Clifton Ave., Baltimore 
2704 Emmett Rd., Silver Spring 
5316 Taylor Rd., Riverdale 
33 High St., Cambridge 
Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel 
633 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown 
8402 Barron St., Takoma Park 


Jan. - Feb., 1951 MARYLAND BIRDLIFE 23 



OCTOBER 15: LAKE ROLAND. The Baltimore Club trip to Lake 
Roland on Sunday, October 15, with Mrs. Kaestner as leader, proved 
more outstanding for the enjoyment of October's bright, blue weather 
than for bird observations. That most of the southern migrants had 
gone and few winter visitors had arrived was emphasized by tardy 
Phoebes, and the plaintive piping of one newly arrived White-throat. On 
the groundsof Dr. and Mrs. Gay, Robins, assembled in pre-flight con- 
clave, chattered and ate the many dogwood berries. Two Sharp-shinned 
Hawks flew overhead. As we passed on our return, sudden fright sent 
the Robins fluttering like leaves, and the silence was broken only by the 
strident warning of Blue Jays. A number of nests were observed; those 
identified were Redstart, Catbird, and Red-eyed Vireo. 

— D. O. Stollenwerck. 

NOVEMBER 10-12: OCEAN CITY AND BLACKWATER REFUGE. 
This annual fall trip was undertaken under the capable leadership of 
Chandler S. Robbins. Although only 5 people went, the trip proved to be 
very worthwhile, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Saturday was speit 
exploring the Immediate Ocean City area, and despite the cold and rainy 
weather we managed to see 74 species. Some of the interesting counts 
of the day were: 6 Gannets, 210 Double-crested Cormorants, 500 Canada 
Geese, 10 Shovellers, 200 Old-squaws, 6 Royal Terns, and 50 Boat- 
tailed Grackles. Sunday provided several interesting-observations. One 
of these was the surprise of finding a Piping Plover so late in the fall. 
It was seen standing with 3 Ruddy Turnstones on a sand bar beside the 
Sinepuxent Bay Bridge. At Blackwater Refuge we saw 8 species of 
ducks, including Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, and Hooded Mergansers. 
Among the Canada Geese that were flying over the refuge, one Blue 
Goose was- spotted. Three Bonaparte’s Gulls at the Choptank River 
Bridge brought the grand total of birds seen on the trip to 101 species. 
Everyone who possibly can should plan to attend this trip to Ocean City 
next fall. -- John Mohlhenrich. 

NOVEMBER 19: CORRIGANVILLE. Seventeen adults enjoyed the 
Allegany Club’s visit to Mr. N. H. Miller’s feeding stations overlooking 
Wills Creek near Corriganville. Mr. Miller really has a bird sanctuary, 
food, water and cover being provided. Last year when he built his home, 
he cleared just enough land for his house and lawn, leaving the rest of 
his three acres untouched. He put out several feeding stations and a 
large bird bath. Nuthatches, Brown Creepers, Cardinals, Juncos, Tree 
Sparrows, Bluebirds, White-crowned Sparrows, Chickadees, Winter 
Wrens, Myrtle Warblers and Downy Woodpeckers are all regular winter 


24 


MARYLAND BIRDLIFE 


Vol. 7, No. 1 


visitors. The Club was interested in seeing the different types of bird 
houses that were occupied last summer. A large Flicker house is now 
being occupied by a Screech Owl. The group was also interested in lo- 
cating bird nests as they went along. The following nests were identi- 
fied: Robin, Cardinal, Red-eyed Vixeo, Wood Thrush, Baltimore Oriole, 
Brown Thrasher, Bluebird, Yellow Warbler and Chipping Sparrow. 

— Adele E. Malcolm. 


ESCAPED AMERICAN MAGPIE AT FREDERICK 

I would like to write this as a letter to the girls and boys of the 
Maryland Ornithological Society. 

Three years ago Richard Brandenburg called every bird that has 
black feathers a blackbird, whether it was a Red-wing, a Crow or a 
Grackle. Then he joined the Frederick Branch of the Society, took daily 
walks afternoons at the close of school, studied the Peterson guide care- 
fully and regularly, until today he has 119 species on his life list. 

Early in November, 1950, Richard came by school to tell me that 
he had seen a Magpie in a meadow near his home. Of course we knew 
that if the bird were really a Magpie, it was surely out of its range. 
Each time- I went to see the bird, it wouldn’t appear, so I began to think 
Richard was dreaming. But then on December 10 Richard called me to 
hurry out to his home, for the Magpie was still there. I rushed out and, 
sure enough, it was there in all its iridescent beauty. I telephoned two 
other adult members of the club to come see it, and in a short time Miss 
Sarah Quinn and Rodgers Smith were thrilled at the sight of it. 

Richard and I decided that it must have escaped from a zoo. If it 
had migrated here, then Richard had surely made a “find". We put an 
article about the Magpie in the Frederick pap'er. The very same day 
we had a telephone call from a man who said he had had the bird shipped 
here from Montana, and that it had escaped while being transferred to 
a new cage. The gentleman proved to be John R. Huff, of Frederick, 
and we learned that the Magpie had .escaped in August, 1950. Richard 
saw it for the first time on November 5, 1950, and it was last seen on 
January 2, 1951, which means that it was not the same individual which 
was reported on the Allegany Club’s Christmas Count for 1950. 

The moral to this story, my dear junior members, is for all of us 
to study our bird books so we can identify those of our feathered friends 
with which we are not familiar. Don’t you think that these lines from 
Arthur Guiterman’s “Good Hunting” express our love of birds ? — 

For me, in time of dogwood, asters, roses 
Or barren woods, the season never closes; 

And if I miss the thrill that others know 
In seeing gouts of blood on moss or snow, 

The trophies of unerring ear and eye 
My memory shall hold until I die. 


Mabel J. Hoyler